There’s going to be more Pixel this year to love, too. It may launch in three flavors, with leaks describing the inevitable Google Pixel 3, a screen-refined Google Pixel 3 XL and a cheaper Pixel phone.
The three three phones are rumored to launch later this year, and we’ve seen several high-quality renders over the last several weeks. So we have a sense of what the new Pixel 2018 phones will look like from all angles.
All of the rumors point to another machine-learning beast of a smartphone made by Google, so we’re separating fact from fiction with a deep dive into its potential release date, price and design.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next pure Android flagship from Google
- What will it cost? Likely upwards of $649 / £629 / AU$1,079
- When is it out? Likely another October 4, 2018 launch
Google Pixel 3 release date
The Google Pixel 3 will launch on October 4, 2018 if Google keeps to its tradition of announcing new Pixel phones on that date. October 4 is also when we got the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL in 2017, and again, the same date was used for the original Pixel and Pixel XL. Google clearly likes to stick to a schedule.
An early October launch event would put the likely Pixel 3 release date in October (last year, it was October 19), and it might not be alone. Google is reportedly going to launch the Pixel 3 an and Pixel 3 XL with an official Google Pixel Watch that runs Wear OS, the new name for Android Wear.
We could also get a lower-cost Pixel model that’s been rumored to be in the works. It’s said to be launching as earlier as July or August, according to the first report we saw, but others claim it’ll be closer to early 2019 and debut with the mid-range-focused Snapdragon 710 chipset.
Google Pixel 3 price
The Google Pixel 3 price is a bigger mystery simply because smartphone prices have been climbing higher in the last twelve months. There’s room for Google to start charging more, but no sign that it definitely will.
The Pixel 2 starts at $649 / £629 / AU$1,079, and the Pixel 2 XL starts at $849 / £799 / AU$1,399. Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL may well have similar prices, or edge slightly higher.
Remember, Google will want to differentiate these two phones with the cheap Pixel 3 that’s been tipped to launch eventually. The cheaper version of the Pixel 3, if it launches globally rather than just in emerging markets, may be the best way to pick up a new Pixel for less.
Google Pixel 3 design leaks
New Google Pixel 3 leaks give us wildly different designs based on various leaked renders from factory CADs (computer-aided designs). And they show both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL from all angles.
You can see them below and will note that they both have just a single-lens rear camera (something that’s also seen in a leaked case picture), but that they seemingly have dual-lens front-facing cameras and – in the Pixel 3 XL’s case – a notch.
The design on the rear of the phones will meanwhile looks similar to the Pixel 2, with a two-tone finish and a fingerprint scanner.
As well as the images, the same source says that the Pixel 3 will have a 5.4-inch screen and dimensions of 145.6 x 68.2 x 7.9mm, while the 3 XL will have a 6.2-inch one and come in at and 158 x 76.6 x 7.9mm, with both phones widening to 8.6mm where the camera sticks out.
Those renders match up with things we’d heard previously. For example, a report talks about both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, with ‘people familiar with the matter’ saying that while the Pixel 3 will look a lot like the Pixel 2, the 3 XL could have a notch and a dual-lens front-facing camera.
They go on to say that the Pixel 3 XL will have a bezel at the bottom of the screen, and that both phones will have an upgraded single-lens rear camera and could be built by Foxconn for the first time (that being the company that builds iPhones).
The claim that the Pixel 3 XL will have a notch while the standard Pixel 3 won’t has been echoed elsewhere, with the source (@OnLeaks, who’s reliable as leakers go) adding that the Pixel 3 XL will be around 6.2 inches, while the Pixel 3 is roughly 5.3 inches – sizes which are roughly the same as we’ve heard elsewhere.
Another source also claims that at least one Pixel 3 model will have a notch, and that it will use an OLED screen provided by LG. The Pixel 2 range already uses OLED screens, so this is no surprise.
You can see them above, and will note that there’s a notch, but that the rear of the phone has a similar two-tone design to the Pixel 2 range, as the renders further up also show. However, apparently it’s all glass here, which might mean it supports wireless charging.
You can also see that there’s a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and a USB-C port, but no 3.5mm headphone port.
Screen protectors supposedly for the two phones have also leaked. You can see them below and they match the design rumored above.
Google itself may also have slightly shown off the Pixel 3, as illustrations in the Android P beta show a phone with an edge-to-edge display – though this could just be a placeholder.
In any case, the images don’t give away much, and don’t quite match up with the other leaks we’ve seen, but you never know, they might be representative of the final phones.
We’ve also seen the Pixel 3 name mentioned by Google. Specifically, a mention of Pixel 3 has been found in code on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) site, which all but confirms it’s in the works.
The Google Pixel 3 names have yet to be confirmed, but last year’s report that three new Pixel phones might be in the works came with codenames: “crosshatch”, “albacore” and “blueline”. It’s worth noting also that all these codenames are types of fish, which was true of previous Pixel handsets as well.
Supposedly two of them will be considered premium, while one is thought of as high-end. But now the speculation is that one might point to a mid-range handset. Of course, three models were also rumored for the Pixel 2 range, so Google can always change its mind at any moment..
What we want to see
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL got 4 stars and 4.5 stars in our reviews respectively, so there’s still room for improvement, and adding the following features to the Pixel 3 would be a step in the right direction.
1. Smaller bezels
From the iPhone X to the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, many 2017 flagships have all but eliminated bezels, but not the Pixel 2.
This is a phone which still has quite large bezels above and below the screen, and while they serve a purpose (housing the front-facing speakers) we’d like to see them worked on for the Pixel 3.
Hopefully Google and its manufacturing partners will find a way to significantly slim down the bezels without sacrificing speakers on the front.
2. Customizable Active Edge
Active Edge on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL lets you squeeze the sides to launch Google Assistant. It’s a handy feature, but unlike on the HTC U11 that’s all it does and it can’t be re-mapped.
For the Pixel 3 we want the feature to return, but we want it to be context-sensitive, so for example if used in the camera app it would perhaps take a photo, and for the core functionality to be customizable, so you can use it as a shortcut to whatever app or feature you want.
3. Camera app improvements
Despite just being a single-lens one, the camera on the Pixel 2 is among the best you’ll find on a smartphone, but the software could use some work.
For example, we’d like gesture controls for timed photos and the ability to switch between the main and selfie cameras with a swipe, like you can on Samsung and LG phones.
They’re little tweaks, but they’d make using the camera a little faster and a little more pleasant.
4. A return of the headphone jack
Despite taking a dig at Apple for ditching the headphone jack when launching the original Pixel, Google has also got rid of it for the Pixel 2, which is a decision we’d like to see reversed for the Pixel 3.
We don’t expect that to happen, if anything ever more handsets are going to start removing the port, but for many users it’s an inconvenience and the benefits of its removal just don’t seem overly compelling.
5. Wireless charging
The Pixel 2 range has reasonable battery life and supports fast charging, but doesn’t have wireless charging, which is a major omission, especially now even Apple is supporting it.
We expect wireless charging to become a lot more popular in the next year, thanks to the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, so it will stand out even more if the Pixel 3 doesn’t support it.
6. Screen improvements
The standard Pixel 2 has just a 1080p screen, which isn’t particularly sharp for a flagship in 2017, so we’d like to see it upgraded to QHD for the Pixel 3.
The Pixel 2 XL meanwhile is sharp enough, but in our review we found that the viewing angles aren’t great and nor is it especially vibrant, so we’d like to see work done to improve those aspects for the Pixel 3 XL.
7. Better water resistance
The Pixel 2 range sports IP67 certification, which means it can survive being submerged up to 1 meter deep for up to 30 minutes.
That should be plenty, but these are flagship phones we’re talking about and some rivals offer more. The Samsung Galaxy S8 for example has IP68 certification, meaning it can be submerged 1.5 meters deep for the same duration.
It’s a small change, but one that could at the very least give buyers more peace of mind that their expensive purchase is fully protected against rain and spills.
- Before the Pixel 3 there’s the OnePlus 6